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NYT, pg1: Walter Reed "rebuilding bodies violently torn apart" [View All]

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-21-04 04:02 AM
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NYT, pg1: Walter Reed "rebuilding bodies violently torn apart"
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Redefining the Front Lines in Reversing War's Toll

Published: June 21, 2004

WASHINGTON, June 20 - With sensors attached to his body and with eight high-speed, infrared cameras recording his movements, Sgt. Luke Wilson walked back and forth inside the gait and motion laboratory at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Reading the data, a computer turned him into a mobile stick figure on the screen, instantly measuring how his body is accommodating the prosthetic device that now serves as his left leg.

Sergeant Wilson, 24, an Army Ranger from Hermiston, Ore., was caught in an ambush two months ago just outside Baghdad. A rocket-powered grenade struck his leg and blew it off. He was taken to a local hospital, then to another in Germany, and then to Walter Reed, in Washington, in what has become a routine itinerary for American soldiers seriously injured while fighting overseas.

Now far removed from the front lines of military action, Sergeant Wilson and a growing number of other soldiers have shifted to the front lines of prosthetic medicine. By virtue of an unusually large population of young men and women in peak physical form who have suddenly lost a limb, in many cases more than one, Walter Reed has become one of the nation's leading hospitals in rebuilding bodies violently torn apart. Of 675 soldiers injured in Iraq since the war began last year, about 100 have been fitted with artificial arms and legs. In any given week, about 20 of them are at the hospital in some stage of rehabilitation.

The large number of young military patients with lost limbs, combined with a generous budget for their needs, has enabled Walter Reed to set a rather lofty goal - to restore them to a physical condition that approximates what they once had. Doctors at the hospital say some soldiers have returned to active duty but that many more are returning to an active life....
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